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Amarnath pilgrimage resumes

india Updated: Jul 04, 2011 15:06 IST

IANS
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As the Amarnath pilgrimage resumed on Monday after being halted for a day due to bad weather, around 20,000 pilgrims were allowed to move to the cave shrine in Jammu and Kashmir.

“We have allowed a batch of over 15,000 today from Baltal base camp and another 5,000 from the Pahalgam base camp. The yatra had been stopped on Sunday because of bad weather and landslides on the mountain route from the north and south Kashmir base camps," a senior official said in Srinagar.

More than 85,000 pilgrims have performed the yatra since it started June 29. The cave shrine houses an ice stalagmite formation that is believed to be a symbol of Lord Shiva.

“Due to natural causes, 13 pilgrims have died so far during this year's pilgrimage,” the official said.

There is a heavy rush of pilgrims from the Manigam transit camp towards the Baltal base camp in north Kashmir's Ganderbal district.

The authorities are facing serious challenges from hundreds of unregistered pilgrims who are arriving every day.

“The problem is that hundreds of unregistered pilgrims arrive here each day while we are equipped to deal with a certain number as per the registration records,” said another official looking after the Manigam transit camp.

Police had to intervene Sunday to stop unregistered pilgrims at Patnitop on the Jammu-Srinagar highway. The overcrowding at base camps and on the mountain trail also results in heaps of garbage.